City Councilman Bill Green. Credit: Rikard Larma / Metro
After Gov. Tom Corbett switched venues for his speech on education in fear of protestors at Central High School, he announced two nominees to chair and sit on the state-run School Reform Commission.
His choice for chairman? City Councilman Bill Green.
To take the role, which would require Green to resign from City Council, would lead the state-run governing body of the School District of Philadelphia is tasked with setting the district's policies. Previous chairman Pedro Ramos submitted his resignation in October.
Corbett also nominated social services advocate Farah Jimenez to fill the seat of Joseph Dworetzky, who's term has expired.
The nominations require Senate approval. The position is a five-year term.
“I firmly believe that all students deserve a safe, high-quality education that will help them succeed,” Corbett said. “Bill Green and Farah Jimenez are strong civic leaders who share my commitment to putting our students first. I am confident that they will bring a high level of passion, energy and spirit of service to support Philadelphia students and perform the critical work of the School Reform Commission.”
In response to the nominations, Mayor Michael Nutter called Jimenez, who has served as CEO of the People’s Emergency Center since 2010, "a smart, hard working and truly caring person."
"My team and I look forward to working with her to ensure Philadelphia children receive the high quality education they deserve," Nutter said
Green, on the other hand.
"I find his nomination quite frankly perplexing," Nutter said.
Nutter said Green's track record of voting against some education funding measures, coupled with his views on public education, raises some concerns in the mayor's office.
Particularly, Nutter wants Green to roll with some of his plans, such as: a new state formula for education funding; the cigarette tax; split the sales extension tax to pay for schools and pensions; plans to turn around the worst performing schools.
"It is my hope that he will come to better understand the importance of District-managed schools and that he will stand up and truly support our school children and teachers," Nutter said.
The Philadelphia School Partnership offered praise for both appointments in a statement: "The Governor’s nominees reflect a strong commitment to meaningful, bipartisan reform of public education in Philadelphia."
Green, a democrat who serves as a Councilman-at-Large, is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania's law school.
One of Green's first tasks, if he the assignment is Senate approved, will be to deal with fall out of the three principals fired in a huge cheating scandal, for which further details are yet to be revealed.
The SRC is a five-member group that acts as the ultimate decision making body in terms of public education and how education dollars are spent. The board determines policy for both the traditional public schools and Charter Schools.
The governor appoints three commissioners, and Mayor appoints two.